Election Day may be a month away, but Sonoma County residents began casting ballots Monday in the Nov. 6 general election using an increasingly popular way to vote.
Monday was the first day any eligible voter, registered or not, could pick up a vote-by-mail ballot at the Registrar of Voters Office in Santa Rosa and either fill it out on the spot or take it home to ponder the choices that range from president to city council member to local school bond measures.
"Election 2012 is under way," said Gloria Colter, assistant registrar of voters.
About 40 voters obtained ballots at the registrar's office on Monday.
Today, about 173,000 ballots will go out in the mail, primarily to Sonoma County voters who have signed up to permanently vote by mail, using what formerly was known as an absentee ballot.